An impending Julius Randle trade has stirred the latest Lakers rumors. To accomplish a deal, the Lakers may look towards the Atlanta Hawks.
All signs are pointing towards the Los Angeles Lakers trading power forward Julius Randle. From drafting Kyle Kuzma to failed contract negotiations to starting Larry Nance Jr, Randle has been the odd one out. Thus, the most recent Lakers rumors have been creating and the Lakers front office looks to be busy once again.
Adrian Wojnarowski initiated the Lakers rumors when stating (via Jack Maloney of CBS Sports) that Randle “unlikely to continue with the Lakers.” Thus, the trade scenarios have returned. Could Randle be packaged with Luol Deng to free contracts? Could the Lakers package Randle with Jordan Clarkson for a star? Or will the Lakers go down a different path?
The different path seems to be the most likely option. Los Angeles will pull off a very similar trade to one they have in the past. No, it is not the D’Angelo Russell and Timofey Mozgov package to free up contracts like many would expect.
Instead, the Lakers may love to replicate their deal for Lou Williams last season.
Last year, the Los Angeles Lakers sent Lou Williams to the Houston Rockets in exchange for a first-round pick (Which resulted in Josh Hart) and Corey Brewer. This was a move to tank on the season as Williams was the team’s leading scorer and easily tradable.
While the Lakers are not looking to tank this year, they do seem ready to part ways with Randle. Thus, the following trade with the Atlanta Hawks becomes a possibility:
Laker fans may not be happy with this deal, I get that. Randle is a great, talented young player that should get a fairly decent trade return. However, there is one major roadblock in the way: his contract.
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Randle will be a restricted free agent this season, meaning that whatever team he is on has to match any other offer another team gives him if they fail to extend. If they do not match, they lose him. Thus, Randle may be in line for a $10-15 million payday, something the Lakers do not want on their hands.
However, a rebuilding team like the Atlanta Hawks may be willing to pay Randle that kind of money. The team can stay young, not spend too much money and build a guideline around their other young stars.
However, even though the Hawks will be willing to pay that much does not merit a good return out of Randle. At the end of the day, Randle’s future is filled with question marks and teams will not overpay for half a season of his service.
If anything, this trade is generous. The Lakers get an expiring deal that will free salary cap next season and a draft pick likely in the 20s. Atlanta, on the other hand, can add a young stud for a draft pick that was not even theirs.
While fans may be expecting a bigger deal out of Julius Randle, this may be the best route for the Lakers to take. Regardless, the Lakers rumors will not stop until a deal is reached.